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231: Final Chuck Austen Arcs (Bright New Morning, Of Darkest Nights, Day of the Atom, Heroes and Villains)

What’s Covered?

New X-Men # 155 - 156, Uncanny X-Men # 442 - 443, X-Men V2 # 157 - 164

Chuck Austen finishes out his run by providing two issues helping Grant Morrison (and editorial) to conclude New X-Men, throwing in a quick arc for the last time on Uncanny, and then gives us his final two arcs over on X-Men Volume 2, prior to being replaced. This blog will be immediately followed by my Chuck Austen retrospective, which I'm looking forward to writing.

Roster Watch


New X-Men # 155 - 156: Bright New Morning

Writer - Chuck Austen

Pencils - Salvador Larroca

New X-Men vol. 1 #155    4/7/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Hank and Scott are arguing with Emma. They think the school should shut down, but she still wants to run it.

Pretty interesting that two of the OG X-Men want to shut down the school and it's a former villain who is arguing to keep it open.

This stays true to Emma's characterization as her desire to be a teacher continues to be her most redeeming quality. You know, other than just being fabulous.

  • Scott says he deserves to be with “someone.”  Emma gets offended, thinking that she’s not just someone and that his happiness is not more important than the children’s.

Yea, I would be pretty offended by this too. Good job Scott, you asshole! I've been tracking ever since the early Claremont days that Scott is the type of guy who just can't go long without having a girlfriend. He thought Jean died when Magneto's base collapsed. Boom, hooking up with Colleen Wing. Jean dies? No problem, Madelyn Pryor is there. Jean dies again? Making out with Emma on Jean's gravestone.

  • Hank accuses Scott of doing something wrong by kissing Emma in front of jeans gravestone

See, I'm not the only one who had a problem with it. Beast doesn't think it's cool either!

  • Hank says that X is worn out from the Magneto stuff and is done. He brought Magneto’s body back to Genosha

What do you know, Professor Xavier is written out of the series again.

  • Hank and Scott realize Cassandra Nova might have escaped

Pretty sure this is never going to go anywhere, but I guess we'll see.

  • The students, and Emma, are attacked by humans in their temporary X-Corp hideout

  • Hank and Scott left incapacitated by Danger Room sentinels

Oh yea, I guess there needs to be a plot. Woo, some danger at the temporary holding compound for the students. Yadda yadda.

New X-Men vol. 1 #156    4/21/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Beast is still angry with Scott about betraying his friend Jean

Yea, Beast! Let him have it!

  • Cuckos still refusing to join back with Emma

Harsh but justified.

  • The anti mutant group kills a young mutant named Germaine

You killed Germaine! You bastards! Who's Germaine again? Why did New X-Men even need two non Morrison issues?

Uncanny X-Men # 442 - 443: Of Darkest Nights

Writer - Chuck Austen

Pencils - Salvador Larroca

Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #442    4/7/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • X and W are bringing Mag’s body to Genosha for burial

  • X asking W why he’s giving so much attitude, but he obviously disagrees with giving Mags so much respect

Ever since X-Men V2 # 1, Wolverine fricken hates Magneto.

  • Nick Fury is pissed about the burial

  • W goes nuts, interrupting X’s Eulogy, even going as far as to kick over the casket 

Well, that might be going too far, but I guess the guy did just kill thousands of New Yorkers. Does he really deserve this?

  • X asks if he wants him to admit they should have killed him years ago 

  • W tears down the Magneto shrine and cuts off Toad’s tongue

Holy shit. Wolverine is pissed!

  • Juggs, She - Hulk, and Emma digging up bodies near the fallen Statue of Liberty

  • Polaris tells Scarlet Witch and QS that they are siblings

  • All 3 head to Genosha

Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #443    4/21/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Polaris gives an epic “Magneto was right” speech

  • Goes nuts but then calms down

Something about Genosha that makes Polaris go off her rocker. Also, something about weddings.

X-Men Volume 2 # 157 - 160: Day of the Atom

Writer - Chuck Austen

Pencils - Salvador Larroca

X-Men vol. 2 #157    5/19/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Havok asks Annie if she banged Iceman

This seems unnecessary.

  • Havok says the teams are being split up and he’ll lead a team (seems like a terrible idea)

Who the fuck thinks it's a good idea for Havok to run a team again!? How many times does he need to break bad or fuck it up to lose trust? Oh, his bro is giving him a team. Nepotism!

  • Josh Guthrie gets to school

He's so dreamy!

  • Sammy will be his roommate.

Bring them to Academy X!

  • Talking about how Storm and Emma are hot

That's so Fish Face!

  • Bobby is really pissed about Juggs being on the team

  • Throwing around one of those “Original 5” comments again

  • Iceman is bitchy ever since he permanently became composed of ice 

Bruh, let it go.

  • Many peeps walking around, bitching about their team assignments

This is pretty funny.

  • Scott, Emma, Havok, Josh, Bishop, Juggs, Rogue, Gambit, Iceman, NC, Angel, Lorna, Jubes, W, Paige, Warren, NS, Beast, Kitty, Sage

These are all the characters who need team assignments. Where will they land!?

  • Jubes wanted to be with Paige

Aww, besties!

  • Rogue and Gambit wanted time to themselves

So they'll go...what, 2 issues without being on a team?

  • W didn’t want to be on every team


  • Scott and Emma are co-headmasters

  • Alex’s team

    • Alex, Iceman, Rogue, Gambit, W, Juggs, Lorna

Hmm, I don't like Havok. I don't like Gambit. Lorna has been annoying lately, although she used to be one of my faves. Iceman has always been the worst. Rogue is great, but she was better when she was leading squads. Wolverine is great, but has only been average in this era. Juggernaut is an MVP!

  • Sent to China to figure out why the magnetic plates are out of alignment

  • They find Xorn!

Lol, that didn't last long. Sure, Xorn was Magneto, but Xorn had a twin brother also named Xorn with the same powers. Gentleman, at least let Morrison get out the door before you start retconning his stories. I actually don't mind though because Xorn is cool and the Magneto reveal was dumb.

X-Men vol. 2 #158    6/16/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Juggernaut hilariously pieces together what happened. 

  • This Xorn had a star in his head and sucked in hundreds of ppl to his black hole brain. 

  • Josh is sad about his dead girl

  • They heard some mutants talking to Black Tom, perhaps?

Oh Snap! What's Black Tom doing over here!?

  • Havok decides to bring Xorn back to the school but the Eight Immortals tell him to stop

  • W has an entertaining exchange with a female who also has claws

  • A card blows up in Gambit’s hand and seems to have blinded him

This is a big deal as Gambit will be blind for the foreseeable (not a pun) future.

  • Havok clears away the Immortals but opens up Xorn’s head

The plot is once again the least interesting part of Chuck Austen's storing. Let's get more of Stacy X jump roping naked and Husk walking in. Wait, where are those two lovebirds!? Banging in the sky still?

X-Men vol. 2 #159    7/21/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Havok’s powers are able to stop the black hole

Phew, I was really getting engaged in this story.

  • Juggs and Iceman bicker and fight

  • The eight immortals offer to help

  • Sammy tries to tell Emma about Black Tom

No one is listening to him. I don't like where this is going.

  • Juggs and IM stay to protect Havok and Xorn

  • The rest go with the Immortals

  • The Chinese military come for both

  • IM throws Juggs into the soldiers

Finally getting along I take it.

  • They combine and create a mecha soldier

  • Lorna is a badass and finds the Xorn helmet

  • Wolverine is really grateful that she is on his team

X-Men vol. 2 #160    8/18/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • The XM help Xorn

  • Juggernaut goes looking for Tom

  • Havok and Annie make up

Yadda, yadda.

X-Men Volume 2 # 161 - 164: Heroes and Villains

Writer - Chuck Austen

Pencils - Salvador Larroca

X-Men vol. 2 #161    9/15/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Cover roster

    • Wolverine, Juggs, Lorna, Xorn, Havok (Leader), Rogue, Blind Gambit, Iceman

  • New brotherhood of mutants

    • Exodus, Sabretooth, Avalanche, Black Tom, Nocturne?, Elephant man (Mammomax)?

It's a big deal when you get a new Brotherhood lineup, but who the fuck green lit the idea of creating a new evil mutant that is a giant elephant (I know he's a wholly mammoth)? That was ok in the 60's and 70's, but in 2004? Really? Bruh.

  • Rogue takes out Avalanche, using Lorna’s power

I always forget that Rogue can absorb people's powers.

  • Iceman freezes Mammomax’s tongue 

  • Nocturne helps innocent ppl

  • Gambit sat out the fight and is mad at Rogue

  • Iceman still being a dick towards Juggs, demanding to know why he wasn’t at the fight. 

  • Sammy’s mom asks if it’s ok for her to date Cain/Juggs

  • Annie is worried Carter isn’t safe with the Brotherhood free so she tells Lorna she’s leaving for good

I recently listened to a Chuck Austen interview (which I'll cover in my Chuck Austen retrospective that comes out next) that people hated Nurse Annie at the time. Even though these aren't real characters, I feel bad when one of them gets spontaneously and obviously written out. It's like when Kylun was kicking ass in Excalibur and then he's like "I'm gonna go look for my parents...for the rest of Marvel continuity."

X-Men vol. 2 #162    9/29/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Juggernaut apparently re-joined the Brotherhood and has been a plant (not a pun) all along

I don't know how I feel about this. I know that he's about to officially go all in on being a hero, but just the fact that he was even contemplating double crossing them doesn't sit right with me.

  • Juggs kills Norturne (apparently) 

He didn't. He actually told her to look for help. I guess I'm confused. Maybe he wasn't seriously turning on the X-Men. I'm confused.

  • Sammy followed Juggs 

  • Alex frees Xorn (the brother, also named Xorn), to help

  • Black Tom fucking kills Sammy!

  • Sammy curses Juggernaut for being a traitor as he lays dying.

  • Juggernaut goes nuts on the bad guys

  • Alex, Xorn, and Bobby are apparently killed by Avalanche and the Brotherhood

X-Men vol. 2 #163    10/27/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Northstar is thinking of quitting and he’s sad that Annie is leaving

Who cares!? Sammy just died!

  • He (Northstar) picks up Sabertooth and beats him around while also asking if he knows where his sister is

  • Mindee, one of the Cuckos, messes with Sabertooth's mind, which helps gambit since he can’t see, and takes out sabertooth

Where the fuck did a Cucko come from? Why is there a random Cucko in a Chuck Austen comic? Why is there only one? Didn't they all flee the mansion and refuse to stay around Emma?

  • Nocturne is alive and was sent by Juggernaut to go find help


  • Juggernaut helps Iceman and Havoc out of the hole

Don't worry guys, they didn't actually get killed by Avalanche.

  • W, Havok, Juggs, Nocturne, Iceman, and Polaris are out to wreck some shit

X-Men vol. 2 #164    11/17/2004    Chuck Austen    Salvador Larroca

  • Jay Guthrie saves Gambit and Mindee from Exodus

  • Black Tom kills the 4 armed chef, Marilyn

I guess Black Tom is like next level evil.

  • NS not happy about it

  • Nocturnes possesses Black Tom

  • Mindee does a mind wipe so they forget where the mansion is

  • Xorn sucks all the bad guys into his black home brain

  • Juggs and Nocturne go too

My Connections and Creators

I'm not going to say a lot because I'm going to launch into my full Chuck Austen retrospective after this, but I have a lot of emotions about Juggernaut and Sammy. Juggernaut is Austen's greatest achievement and the fact that I feel genuinely sad about Sammy's death is a good thing, it means Mr. Austen was successful.

It's odd how these final stories took place across three different titles, but I'm at least glad that Austen got to go out on his own terms.



Oddly, no longer a part of this comic.


Also, oddly no longer part of this comic. Unlike Archangel though, I just wiki'd Husk and it looks like she won't make many appearances for the next few years. What the hell!? Is she associated with Austen now?


Is he still around?


Juggernaut is Austen's greatest achievement. It took the death of Sammy for him to officially break up with Black Tom and become a good guy from this point on (I think).


Still lame, and now a leader again. That seems like such a bad choice. I hope the next writer undoes this.


Not too memorable, unfortunately.


He used to be annoying comic relief, but now he's both lame and a prick.

Nurse Annie

I never had anything against her, but now she's gone for good.


I'm very upset about this, but I guess Sammy was tied to Austen and his time has now passed.

My Rating- 9/10


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